[Fsfe-ie] Letter to Creevy

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at member.fsf.org
Tue Feb 15 17:18:16 CET 2005

This has to be sent tomorrow if it's to have any effect.  Preferably in the
morning.  I should be online again later tonight to update it.  I can't get
hold of Crowley's office, so it'll have to go direct to McCreevy.  I should
be sent "as IFSO".

As said last time, he doesn't have to debate his decision, he just has to
justify it, so he needs bullet points, not a long list with rebuttals.


Dear Commissioner McCreevy,

Irish Free Software Organisation would like to briefly explain why the
"software patents directive" should be brought back a step to be fixed.

= Every patent is a regulation on software writers.  The added bureacracy of
  obtaining permission to use a software idea, and the added legal costs of
  patent searches and litigation would greatly harm the Lisbon strategy's
  aim to increase the competitiveness of the EU.

* On Feb 2nd, you said "Having no directive means continuing to rely on case
  law, which leads to considerable legal uncertainty which is why we must
  strive to find a balanced solution."  IFSO agrees, but the Councils text,
  which relies on undefined terms such as "technical effect" and "industrial
  application", could only yield an outcome that would require case law and
  legal precedents to define the law.

* The costs of patent searches and the possible cost of litigation, whether
  the litigators claim is valid or not, are too high for all individuals and
  most businesses.  In software writing, the introduction of patents would
  not just raise the barrier to entry, it would create a barrier where
  previously there was none.

* The parliament fixed this directive by 75% majorities, JURI want it fixed
  by a 17 or 19 majority.  Since these are the only groups made of
  democratically elected representatives, it would be a regrettable example
  of the EU's "democratic deficit" if they were to be ignored.

* The recent news that Bill Gates threatened the Danish Prime Minister with
  the loss of 800 jobs if this directive was not passed is [what?  Should
  this point even be here]

= The US Federal Trade Commission's 2003 "Report on Innovation" said that
  "software and internet patents" were obstructing innovation.


Have to rush off, will be back tonight, in particular I have to revisit
Ian's mail and update accordingly.

Ciarán O'Riordan
Free Software in Ireland: http://www.ifso.ie

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